Friday, October 12, 2007
Festival Mall, Kempton Park, South Africa

After a long day of travel and a fitful night of airplane sleep, we didn't wake up today till 12:30 p.m.  Hey, that's not too bad.  In Knoxville, it's just 6:30 a.m.  Obviously, breakfast was over.  Thank goodness there was coffee in our room.  Oddly, it came in a box marked "Medicine."  Fair enough, I guess.  Unlike yesterday, today was sunny, warm, and beautiful.

Coffee:  Our daily medicine

Later in the afternoon, the Emerald's folks dropped us off at nearby shopping center, Festival Mall, where we did some initial provisioning for the camping portion of our trip.  We'll do more shopping once we pick up our vehicle, but we did purchase a few essentials, including:
- Toiletries in over 3-ounce allotments.
- "Peaceful Sleep" insect repellent, recommended by our new South African friend Leeza.
- A multi-tool and a pocketknife.
- Pepper spray.
- Coffee.

An afternoon at the mall, Kempton Park, South Africa

We had lunch at Delhi Delicious, two "pepper steak oriental pies," at 8 rand each.  The exchange rate is 8 rand per US$1, so a pretty good deal at a buck apiece.  They eat a lot of meat pies in South Africa.

Festival Mall is just like any shopping mall you'd go to in Oklahoma or Tennessee, only with groceries.  Most of our shopping we did at the very busy Pick 'n Pay supermarket.  When checking out, I handed the cashier my credit card, and she asked me, "Plastic?"  I said yes, thinking, well, of course my credit card is plastic; what an odd question.  Then I realized she was asking me if I wanted to purchase a plastic bag to put my goods in.  In South Africa there is a .21 rand charge per bag (3 cents).  Must be an anti-littering deal.  In any event, we had to have bags.  We couldn't very well load up all our things in our pockets!

The pepper spray came from a sporting goods store, 99 rand, Smith & Wesson, made in the USA!  The multi-tool and pocketknife came in a four-pack with a flashlight and a carabiner/compass, all for 70 rand ($10).  What a deal!  The multi-tool wasn't the greatest, but it was a very nice knife.

Before leaving the mall, we had an early dinner at Steers, a fast-food burger chain.  We ordered two combo meals, and got a perfectly decent burger and fries.  I'm glad to report that southern Africa does not suffer from the horrible-burger curse that plagues other international destinations we have visited.

An unexpected sight in South Africa

Maurice from Emerald's collected us from the mall at 5:15, 15 minutes late because he'd gotten delayed at the airport.  I was just glad to see him.  We'd been there three and half hours.  I haven't spent that much time at the mall since I was a teenager.

Back at the guest house, the receptionist called Kea Campers on our behalf and confirmed that Kea would indeed be picking us up at 8:00 a.m. tomorrow to take us to their rental depot so we can get our 4x4 camper and head out into the wild of Botswana.

Continue to October 13

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